A week’s worth of headlines from the region

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his country is ready to revoke its bid for the European Union if conditions not provided by the European integration are imposed on it. “Europe should not play tricks on Turkey. If they try to impose conditions not included in the negotiation agenda we will follow our path”, Erdogan threatened.

Servicemen of the Group of Russian Troops in Transcaucasia and the Armed Forces of Armenia will take part in planned joint exercises. Starting September 13th and continuing for 6 days these will be held in the territory of Armenia.

On September 6th Armenian President Robert Kocharyan met with OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Slovenian FM Dimitrij Rupel. During the meeting the parties discussed questions of the talks over settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the current stage of solution of the issue. Besides, the two parties discussed issues of Armenian-Slovenian cooperation.

“Armenia is ready to provide the necessary assistance to the US Government due to the consequences of the hurricane,” Armenian FM Vartan Oskanian stated at a news conference. In his words, today the US Embassy in Armenia will provide the list of what is necessary for the Katrina hurricane victims. As the minister noted, at the moment the US needs money the most, and Armenia is ready to provide both financial and professional assistance to the US to the best of its abilities.

On September 8th Armenian PM Andranik Margaryan met with Thai Deputy FM Virachai Virameteekul. He said that a representation of the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Armenia will open in Bangkok September 21st. The interlocutors appreciated the initiative of corresponding Armenian and Thai departments on opening a permanent exhibition of Thai goods in Armenia. In their opinions, it will open new prospects to stimulate economic and trade relations.

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Rapporteur on Nagorno-Karabakh Goran Lennmarker will visit Azerbaijan after the parliamentary election.

Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc has sent letters of protest to chairs of 16 parliaments, which had recognized the Armenian Genocide. “There is nothing in our history, which we would like to conceal or are ashamed of,” Arinc noted in messages to Speakers of Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The consular section of the US embassy in Armenia said 8,218 Armenian citizens asked for permission to travel to the USA in the first eight months of this year, but only 3,545 were given non-immigrant visas. It also said the number of Armenians who were allowed to travel to the USA in the first 8 months of this year grew 10 percent from a year ago.

Parliament member Viktor Dallakyan from the major opposition Ardarutyun (Justice) bloc told a news conference today the bloc is preparing to launch a nationwide campaign to persuade voters to reject the package of constitutional amendments which president Kocharyan and his ruling coalition want to put to a referendum in late November. He also confirmed that the block is very likely to reconsider its decision to boycott the parliament work “in response to people's demands to go back to parliament and expose the real face of the regime.”

September 26th-30th President of Finland Tarja Halonen will pay a formal visit to the South Caucasus. The visit will start with a 2-day stay in Yerevan. September 28-29 she will be in Tbilisi and September 29-30 she will pay a visit to Baku.

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